Tuesday, 2 December 2008

God help us!

Dude, WTF?

Last Monday, Graham Stuart, the Tory MP for Beverley and Holderness, read out to the Commons Select Committee for Children, Schools and Families a question from a recent GCSE science paper: "A nuclear power station is to be built. (1) It will provide more employment in the area. But (2) any release of radioactive material would be very dangerous. Which of these two statements argues in favour of siting the nuclear power station in the area?"

Mr Stuart then asked if "the department is really sure that we are providing pupils with a rigorous scientific understanding?" But he was answered by Jim Knight MP, the schools minister, with "Yes. I am absolutely happy that we are, and we have set up Ofqual to provide more public reassurance."

Are you reassured?

What the fuck are these cunts smoking? What the fucking fuck does this even have to do with science? I ... I ... I ... I just can't get my head around this.

What the FUCK?

Hat tip to the ASI.


Unknown said...

Note they have set up ofqual 'to provide public reassurance' not to make critical recommendations or try to improve anything.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Excellent. I have set up a fun online poll on my 'blog. If anybody wants the code, please email me.

gmwadsworth at gmail.com

Anonymous said...

ROFLMAO... Ooops I think I have wet pants!


Good to see my tax euro / pound at work

Anonymous said...

And if you read the full transcript of the select committee session, there is a logic to this kind of question....

'Jim Knight: Do not forget that a GCSE, for example, is measuring both level 1 and level 2-the full range of A to G. A national curriculum test is measuring the full range of ability, so it is possible to pluck out questions that are pretty straightforward, such as that one. .... But there are others that measure the higher ability range. It can be unfair to the achievements of young people to pluck out the easy ones in isolation. '

From: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/c...iii/uc65102.htm

But then again, the whole point of the Telegraph article is to provide a platform for Dr Kealey to espouse the benefits of a private education (you'd never guess he was Vice-Chancellor of the only private University in the UK would you???).

Obnoxio The Clown said...

Frankly, I don't give a shit. That question is so banal and irrelevant, it has no place in a GCSE paper.

Anonymous said...

But, that is exactly where it does have a place....the GCSE tests the abilities of ALL children at 16 years old. It's not an O'level or an A'level. There were 4 possible responses to the question ( '1 only, 2 only, both 1 and 2, neither' ) and these will assess the level of understanding in those children perhaps passed over by the harder questions.

Whether we like it or not, we live in a country where 1/5 of the population is classed as illiterate, and we have to have some means of assessing those at the lower end of the spectrum.

Afterall, it will make absolutely no difference to the next generation of scientists: it is only after GCSE that their skills become refined.

And for anyone who thinks that the question is not science, it is: the historiography, application and ethics of science is a well respected aspect of the field.

Anonymous said...

I teach science and sad as it may be some kids struggle with even questions of this sort. Others will scoff at it just as we all are. It isn't that such questions are inappropriate, they represent science as the subject it is in school. The problem is that science at the entire secondary level spends a great deal of time discussing issues and imparting facts, whilst offering very little in the type of problem-solving that represents the core of science: the application of the scientific method. If kids understood the method clearly and how to apply it, then everything else can follow on from that because everything else can be rediscovered if need be.

Good teaching can encourage this sort of learning by investigation and reasoning, but I don't find the tests look for it nearly so much as they should.

Dr Evil said...

The Royal society of Chemistry set a paper for children who got A grades in GCSE chemistry, comprising of a selection of questions from the 60s,70s, 80, 90s and this 'ere new century. The average score was 25% (fail) and of the older questions, 15% (big fail). one exception kid in Brum got 94%. I did em too, and got 90%! Ha! But there again I got an A in A level chemistry in 1971, when questions were challenging!

The knobhead who whittled on about Ofqual is actually failing our children. That question on 'science' is utter rubbish. Should have asked something like, describe a chain reaction in atomic fission and give the atomic numbers and weights of the fission products by means of an equation or some such.

Dr Evil said...

I understand what some posters are saying about ablities and testing but frankly they shouldn't be doing GCSE science if they are that hopeless. I know that sounds harsh, but they aren't cut out to be scientists if dumbed down questions like that are used because they can't handle ones that actually require thinking and reasoning from a scientific standpoint. Teaching science should be about teaching the scientific method, technical information and practical technique.

Anonymous said...

Actually some schools are realising that, Chalcedon, and the kids are doing BTECs instead. The one-size-fits-all approach to qualifications has stripped most subjects of their academic rigour. I wouldn't mind the debates on issues and the like if they involved the introduction of some serious philosophy and economics but they don't.